I have 1 laying hen that is sitting in a nesting box backwards, she is panting, looks distressed. no sign of illness in any other hen.

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by: Sharon

Panting is often a sign of stress. Could be related to being over heated, possibly pain from an injury or being egg bound.

I'm not sure how she usually sits in her nest box, so not sure what backwards means, but what you describe makes me think she is possibly egg bound.

Sometimes a nice warm bath can help to relax muscles and let an egg that is stuck pass. Sometimes it can help to get some kind of oil up into her vent to help release the egg.

Sometimes an egg is larger than usual or has a rough surface that makes it difficult to pass normally and be laid easily.

You should feel gently below her vent, towards her legs, for an egg that might be stuck. You won't always be able to feel the egg there, could be further up in her body.

Warmth and lubrication will usually get the egg freed up to come out. But you can't leave her egg bound for too long as the condition is life threatening. A stuck egg can prevent her from passing her droppings, which means her digestive system can be backed up and turn into a toxic situation.

Sometimes breaking the egg is the only solution, but this runs the risk of internal injuries due to the sharp edges of the broken shell scraping as they leave.

Sometimes a brief period of panting is normal as a hen lays an egg. She is in labor. But if it seems her contractions are unproductive, she will need your help. Always try the least invasive solutions first.

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